ISO 56002: Innovation Management System Guidance

The committee on Innovation Management, ISO/TC 279, has been working on a convergent view of how innovation management systems are structured. The result is the “ISO 56002:2019 Innovation Management System — Guidance”. This guide acknowledges the importance of a structured system for innovation in any organisation that needs to

  • adapt, respond and change to its market environment
  • pursue new opportunities of growth and
  • leverage creativity, ideas and knowledge of employees, customers and suppliers.

This new standard combines current thinking, academic research and foremost decades of experience how management systems can effectively harness, measure and steer hard to grasp concepts such as ideas, IP, product value or customer insights and market adoptance.

The innovation management system basically consists of the following aspects:

  • leadership, culture, collaboration
  • strategy, direction and strategic initiatives
  • management of risk and uncertainty
  • response to change
  • customer insights and engagement
  • processes and tools (what ISO refers to as “system approach”)

The overall model of the standard is shown below

iso56002 model

Source: iso.org

Besides the classical plan-do-check-act cycle, which includes setting up the right innovation metrics, the focus of this guidance is on the innovation pipeline itself and the “leadership” block that provides mission, vision, values, strategic input, commitment and necessary policies.

ISO 56002 Innovation pipeline

Transforming intent into value, opportunities into profit, involves an innovation funnel or pipeline system with iterative processes. It is called “Operations” because it is the place where the action happens and automated, recurring process steps are executed.

These involve the following steps borrowed from Design Thinking practice:

  1. Discover: in ISO 56002 terms this is called “identifying opportunities”
  2. Define: concept creation
  3. Develop solutions
  4. Deploy solutions

While the first two steps focus on the problem domain and typically are highly selective, the 3rd and 4th step are solution and problem solving related, focused on R&D and NPDI processes (new product development).

Problem discovery and concept definition has a very low yield rate, depending on your strategies (e.g. blue ocean vs. read ocean, H1 vs H2 innovations). In saturated, mature mainstream markets it maybe as low as 10’000 opportunities identified and only 1 concept validated.  In contrast, validated concepts may require tens of solution approaches, sometimes hundreds of high fidelity prototypes to be converted into the final solution deployed.

innovation management system process

As depicted above in Sensaco’s core innovation process, iteration also happen between problem/concept and solution spaces. Such iterations require good collaboration between all team members, sound documentation of concept validation and decisions taken by the innovation board.

ISO 56002 Leadership and Innovation Management System

As the guidance presumes mission, vision, values, strategic input, commitment and necessary policies in place it also needs to add a management system to keep track of culture, collaboration and open innovation. In our experience this is the most tricky part which needs to be measured and developed with an innovation assessment (covered as a technical report by ISO 56004) and continuous education for all the workforces. Open innovation is best managed as a network of highly affine and collaborative people.

Reference: ISO 56002:2019(en), https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:56002:ed-1:v1:en

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